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Even at the peak of Coronavirus infections, Taj Mahal gets its first visitors…

India reopened its famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal, with the first visitors coming in today, after the authorities have reported 86,961 new coronavirus infections.

A man sanitizes railings in the premises of Taj Mahal after authorities reopened the monument to visitors, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Agra, India, September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Alasdair Pal

A Chinese national and a visitor from Delhi were among the first to step into the white marble tomb built by a 17th-century Mughal emperor for his wife when it opened at sunrise, after six months of closure. Daily visitor numbers have been covered at 5,000, versus an average of 20,000 before the pandemic. Tickets are only being sold online, with fewer than 300 bought on the first day.

Visitors will have their temperatures taken and must adhere to advice to keep a safe distance from each other. India’s coronavirus tally of 5.49 million infections lags only the United States with 6.79 million, a figure the South Asian nation could overtake in the next few weeks at its current rate of increase. The death toll of 87,882 was up 1,130 from the previous day, health ministry figures showed. Tourism contributed about $240 billion, or 9.2% of India’s gross domestic product in 2018, employing more than 42 million people, World Travel and Tourism Council data show.


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